President Brigham Young (1801–77) said: “The Lord had his eyes upon [Joseph Smith], and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to … Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation.” 1
Joseph Smith learned much from his ancestors and his upbringing in New England, including hard work, devotion to God, and patriotism. This family tree will tell you a little more about his ancestors. 2
1 Robert Smith. Robert was the Prophet’s third-great-grandfather. He left England when he was a teenager to move to America. He arrived in Boston in 1638.
2 Mary French. The Prophet’s third-great-grandmother, Mary, had 10 children. She and her husband spent most of their married lives in Topsfield, Massachusetts.
3 Samuel Smith Sr. Samuel was born to Robert and Mary in 1666. He was known as a “gentleman” in Topsfield’s town and county records.
4 Rebecca Curtis. Rebecca had nine children. Her first son was Samuel Jr.
5 Samuel Smith Jr. Samuel was well known as a Christian, a community leader, and a supporter of the American War of Independence.
6 Priscilla Gould. Priscilla died after having five children. After she died, Samuel married her cousin, who then raised Priscilla’s children.
7 Asael Smith. Asael, born in 1744, was the Prophet’s grandfather. He was elected to many offices during the 30 years he lived in Tunbridge, Vermont, and was known for his community service. He believed in a loving God and in life after death. He also had a testimony of the Savior. Asael predicted that “God was going to raise up some branch of his family to be a great benefit to mankind.” 4
In his old age, Asael read the Book of Mormon. And when he died in late 1830, he knew the Book of Mormon was true and that his grandson was a prophet.
8 Mary Duty. Mary had 11 children. She moved with her husband from Massachusetts to Vermont as they looked for new farmland. In her later years, Mary had a strong testimony that her grandson was a prophet. In 1836 Mary went to Kirtland, Ohio, to gather with the Saints. She died 10 days after arriving there.
9 Joseph Smith Sr. Joseph was a good man who believed in God. He met his wife, Lucy, at her brother’s store in Tunbridge, Vermont, and they were married in 1796. Several times, Joseph had dreams that prepared him for the coming of the gospel and to support his son in his calling. Lucy said he was “an affectionate companion and tender father as ever blessed the confidence of a family.” 3
He was one of the first baptized when the gospel was restored, and he became the first patriarch of the Church in this dispensation.
10 Lucy Mack. Lucy came to a decision when she was about 19 that Christ’s Church was no longer on the earth. Once, when Lucy was very ill, she pleaded with the Lord for her life and promised Him that she would serve Him the best she could if He would spare her. She heard a voice giving her comfort, and she kept seeking for a religion that would bring her closer to Him. Joseph Smith Jr. was her fifth child, and the gospel he restored was an answer to her prayers. Her children were an unnamed child, who died shortly after birth, Alvin, Hyrum, Sophronia, Joseph, Samuel, Ephraim, William, Catherine, Don Carlos, and Lucy.
11 Solomon Mack. Born in 1732, Solomon was only four when he was apprenticed to a nearby farmer. He was an apprentice until he was 21. After that, he enlisted in the French and Indian War and was a merchant, a land developer, a shipmaster, and a farmer, among other things. He had many unfortunate incidents during his lifetime, including being hit by a falling tree. Later in his life, he read the Bible and was converted to a life of service and devotion to God.
Solomon died a few months after Joseph received the First Vision.
12 Lydia Gates. Lydia was a schoolteacher. She married Solomon in 1759 and taught her eight children, and probably her husband, to read and write and also about religion.
13 Ebenezer Mack. Ebenezer was John and Sarah Mack’s eighth child. He and his family lived on the Mack estate but had very hard economic times there.
14 Hannah Huntley. Hannah married Ebenezer when he was 30.
15 John Mack. John was Joseph Smith Jr.’s great-great-grandfather. When he was 16, he left Inverness, Scotland, and arrived in New England in 1669.
16 Sarah Bagley. Sarah and her husband spent much of their lives in Lyme, Connecticut. They had 12 children. 5
Joseph Smith Jr. The Prophet Joseph was born on December 23, 1805, the 5th of 11 children. Joseph married Emma Hale in 1827. They had 12 children, including 2 adopted children. He was martyred on June 27, 1844. “[He] left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people” (D&C 135:3).
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (1997), 96.
This information comes from Church History in the Fulness of Times (2000), 15–27.
Quoted in Richard Lloyd Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage (1971), 112.
Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, ed. Preston Nibley (1958), 182.
See John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet (1989), 23–24; see also 19–30.